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Aretha Franklin Reportedly Has Pancreatic Cancer

Singer, who was hospitalized last week, has yet to comment

December 8, 2010 5:48 PM ET
Aretha Franklin Reportedly Has Pancreatic Cancer
Bryan Bedder/Getty

Soul legend Aretha Franklin has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, according to reports in The Detroit News , Detroit's Fox 2 and The National Enquirer — though phone calls by Rolling Stone to two Franklin representatives were not returned. (The News credits "a source familiar with the situation"; Fox 2 says its source is a relative of Franklin's.)

Aretha Franklin: Rolling Stone's No. 1 Singer Of All Time

Franklin recently canceled all of her tour dates through May 2011 and last week had a surgery for an unknown ailment. In a statement, the singer called her surgery "highly successful," though Detroit residents held a prayer vigil for the singer last week, and Jesse Jackson visited her in the hospital last Friday.

Pancreatic cancer is a particularly lethal form of the disease. Most people die within one year of the diagnosis, and less than five percent of them live more than five years.

Aretha Franklin Stricken With Cancer [Detroit News]

Aretha Franklin Has Cancer [Fox 2]

Aretha Franklin Cancer [National Enquirer]

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

More Song Stories entries »
 
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